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Varlamov Making Progress

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

PITTSBURGH—After returning to the United States from Toronto the night before, the Colorado Avalanche held a 45-minute practice Wednesday at Consol Energy Center, the home arena of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov participated in his second full-team practice and continues to make progress in his recovery from a groin injury. He took part in the club's morning skate on Tuesday in Toronto and has been out of the Avs' lineup since suffering the injury on Nov. 10 during the team's pregame skate in Philadelphia.

Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said on Tuesday that Varlamov felt good after the first skate, and he would be reevaluated the following day before practicing in Pittsburgh. With Varlamov returning to the ice, it appears to be a positive sign that he's making progress in his rehab.

Forward John Mitchell also skated, but he did not participate in the formal team session. He missed the Avs' last contest against the Maple Leafs after reinjuring his oblique on Saturday in Montreal. He has missed five of the team's last seven games because of the ailment.

Captain Gabriel Landeskog will make his return to the Colorado lineup on Thursday after serving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand. Landeskog returned as the left wing on a line with Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene, the duo he played with prior to the suspension.

Mikhail Grigorenko, who had taken Landeskog's place on the top group, centered the third line with Cody McLeod and Andreas Martinsen. Center Chris Wagner moved from the third line to the fourth.

The Avalanche plays the first of two games this season against the Penguins on Thursday at 5 p.m. MT. The team continues its seven-game road trip on Saturday in Washington, D.C., before finishing on Monday in Winnipeg.

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